Cachexia is the medical term for the severe weight loss and general wasting away of the body that are frequently seen in cancer patients. It is a horrible condition that reduces a dying patient to skin and bones while tumors continue to nourish. The deterioration caused by cachexia is one of the primary causes of death from cancer.
Dr. Gold discovered that cachexia is the result of the way cancer cells produce energy through metabolism. Cancer cells get much of the energy needed for their voracious metabolic process by recycling their own waste products. However, this process creates a condition that robs the host's body of energy and results in cachexia. (12, 13)
Healthy cellular metabolism unites oxygen with glucose (sugar) to produce energy. Cancer metabolism also uses glucose, but only partially metabolizes it, leaving lactic acid as a byproduct. Lactic acid is a toxin, and the liver expends a significant amount of energy in converting lactic acid back to glucose.
Cancer creates a cycle in which the body is continually expending energy to clear lactic acid. As the cancer grows, more lactic acid is produced, creating an even greater energy drain, and the body simply wastes away.
In one of his early papers Dr. Gold wrote:
Cachexia is but the end result of an insidious process— unrecognizable at first, but slowly taking its toll of the body's reserves until a "point of no return" is reached. Cachexia begins with the very first cancer tissue. What we need is a way to stop the vicious cycle and thereby put a halt to the leading cause of death in cancer: cachexia. (9)
Dr. Gold set out to find a method of interrupting this vicious energy-wasting cycle. He eventually found that an inexpensive chemical compound called hydrazine sulfate is able to block an important enzyme in the liver that catalyzes the conversion of lactic acid into glucose.
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